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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Xiaomi Launches Mi 10 Ultra With 120W Fast Charging & MIUI 12

Xiaomi has been teasing the Mi 10 Ultra from the last few weeks. At its 10th-anniversary launch event, the company has officially launched the premium flagship smartphone — Mi 10 Ultra. It is the company’s fourth smartphone in the Mi 10 lineup. Earlier to this, Xiaomi launched the Mi 10, Mi 10 Pro, and Mi […]

The post Xiaomi Launches Mi 10 Ultra With 120W Fast Charging & MIUI 12 appeared first on PhoneRadar.

Huawei Watch Fit Leaked With AMOLED Display & Heart Rate Sensor

Recently, Huawei has officially confirmed to launch its next flagship smartphone in early September. The company will be launching the Mate 40 series and the Mate X2 foldable smartphone. Based on the rumors, Huawei will also announce a bunch of accessories including the newly leaked Huawei Watch Fit. The Huawei Watch Fit is currently listed […]

The post Huawei Watch Fit Leaked With AMOLED Display & Heart Rate Sensor appeared first on PhoneRadar.

How a Start-up Transformed the Indian Mobile Gaming Industry

The availability of cheap internet data and affordable mobile phones has led to a massive spike in smartphone usage and the gaming industry has benefited greatly from it. According to Sensor Tower’s report, mobile game downloads crossed 4 billion globally in early 2020, with almost 40 percent year-on-year growth. Compared to other major markets, the […]

The post How a Start-up Transformed the Indian Mobile Gaming Industry appeared first on PhoneRadar.

HTC Wildfire E2 Goes Official With Helio P22 SoC & HD+ Display

HTC unveiled the Wildfire R70 smartphone with entry-level specifications in February this year. Today, the company launched a new budget Android smartphone called Wildfire E2 with similar specifications. It is priced at RUB 8,760 (approx. INR 8,900) and comes in Blue and Black color options. Considering its cheaper price tag, we shouldn’t be complaining about […]

The post HTC Wildfire E2 Goes Official With Helio P22 SoC & HD+ Display appeared first on PhoneRadar.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Bitdefender GravityZone Advanced Business Security

Part of BitDefender’s GravityZone line of endpoint security solutions, the GravityZone Advanced Business Security (GZABS) is the company’s recommended platform for mid-sized organisations. It covers both physical and virtual machines running Windows, macOS and Linux as well as Microsoft Exchange servers.

Features

GZABS can be managed via a cloud-based interface or can be hosted on-premise. If you do decide to host it in-house, you can also use it to manage mobile devices, which are otherwise not covered by the standard cloud-based management interface.

In terms of device and network protection features, the platform ticks all the right boxes. GZABS makes good use of Bitdefender’s machine learning models to detect and block malware attacks. 

It operates in a zero-trust mode, wherein it continuously monitors all running processes to seek out suspicious activities or anomalous process behavior. This allows it to catch the usual attack vectors such as attempts to disguise the process type, or to execute code in another process’s space, and more.

Bitdefender GravityZone Advanced Business Security 2

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

GZABS also has a mechanism to stop zero-day attacks carried out through evasive exploits by mitigating memory corruption vulnerabilities in popular productivity apps such as browsers, and document readers, and common files such as media files.

Additionally, the platform also enables you to control access to all sorts of removable devices attached to the endpoints. It also has web filtering to scan web traffic (including https encrypted traffic) to prevent the download of malware and block access to phishing and fraudulent pages.

Once a threat is detected, GZABS can take one of the usual actions including terminating the offending process, and quarantining or removing the infected file. If you are managing GZABS on-premise you can also take advantage of its ransomware mitigation that takes a real-time backup of files modified by malicious processes. Once the threat has been neutralized, these backups can be used to roll back any changes.

Bitdefender GravityZone Advanced Business Security 3

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

Interface and use

The primary interface for managing GZABS is the cloud interface dubbed GravityZone Control Center. The dashboard contains a trend line of malware activity and also offers drill-down capabilities for some of the other elements, known as portlets in the parlance of the web interface. 

You can customize each portlet or add new ones from its repository of portlets. Some of the portlets, such as Malware Status, and the Update Status also allow you to perform actions directly on the endpoints from within them.

To grab installer packages for the endpoints you’ll have to cook them first as per your requirements. The web interface enables you to define the installer packages by selecting which components to include along with some installation settings, such as an uninstallation password, a custom installation path and more. 

You can then grab the packages in several formats. In addition to small installers that weigh about 5 MB and will fetch the required packages from the Internet during installation, you can also grab packages as complete kits that weigh in about 700 MB.

Bitdefender GravityZone Advanced Business Security 4

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

Advanced users will also appreciate the Policies page, which allows you to fine tune the behavior of several modules. This is useful considering the fact that some endpoints are more prone to attacks than others. So perhaps you can ease on the anti-malware scans and preserve resources on machines that aren’t connected to the internet, while being more aggressive on network-accessible endpoints. 

However, the interface does a poor job of exposing its features. Its layout is overly complex and the workflow isn’t straightforward. You can however hook it up to Active Directory to deploy agents remotely, but it takes some doing. 

Also, thanks to the size of the agent installation files, the process of hooking up an agent to the web interface takes quite a while. Also, the endpoint agents don’t offer much functionality besides running scans. 

Perhaps our biggest pet peeve is that there is no easy way to customize the modules of a deployed endpoint. You can however modify a deployed machine and change its subscription to a different policy. 

Bitdefender GravityZone Advanced Business Security 5

(Image credit: Bitdefender )

Plans and Pricing

Bitdefender is currently offering a 30% discount on the subscription of GZABS. The smallest package it offers covers up-to 5 endpoints for $202.99 for 1 year, $325.49 for 2 years and $405.99 for 3 years. 

Note however that only 35% of the subscribed endpoints can be servers. That includes all Windows Server installations as well as all Linux workstations. So for instance if you subscribe to its minimum coverage of 5 endpoints, only 2 of these can be Windows Server or Linux installations. If you want to cover 3 servers, you’ll have to subscribe to protect 8 endpoints. 

Irrespective of the number of endpoints you plan to cover, all offer the protection features covered above. You can pay more to subscribe to a few other security features to extend your protection coverage. Two of the most useful ones are patch management and full disk encryption

Bitdefender GravityZone Advanced Business Security 6

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

The Competition

Just like Panda Security Adaptive Defense 360, GZABS offers Linux support. However in GZABS Linux endpoints count as servers, which might force you to subscribe to more endpoints than you actually require. Also unlike AD360, GZABS doesn’t offer protection for mobile devices with its cloud interface.

Also, despite their humongous size, the endpoint clients don’t offer any real functionality besides running scans. You get no additional privacy or security features like you get with Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus.

Finally, compared to some of its competition, we aren’t fans of GZABS complex UI, workflow and deployment process, which are the three most critical areas of any endpoint protection platform. It also offers very little scope for modifying the capabilities of a deployed machine, which is another administration nightmare.

Final Verdict

All things considered, the policies function is perhaps the one unique suit of the platform that separates it from its peers. Besides that one functionality, GZABS doesn’t offer anything that you can’t get with its peers. 

Sure, it’s one of the few platforms that supports Linux, but it does so in a manner that negates some of the positivity. The same is true for its protection of mobile devices.

The final nail in the coffin is its unintuitive interface, which is a buzzkill and the lack of documentation doesn’t help matters either. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds

The Samsung Galaxy Buds are just one of the many models that sought to topple the Apple AirPods' monopoly on the true wireless earbuds market. Alongside their successors, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, they make up a wider portfolio of Samsung true wireless earbuds, including two generations of the Gear IconX.

What separates the Samsung Galaxy Buds from the IconX, however, is that the latter does away with that Gear branding and makes these earbuds part of the Galaxy phone family, which offer up a neat trick with the Buds, but more on that later.

That said, if you've held out this long to buy a pair you should probably consider the new Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus – a more premium model that doesn't cost much more and uses a dual-driver design to offer better sound quality as well as a larger built-in battery that increases the total listening time to 11 hours per charge.

It's even rumored that a new version of the Galaxy Buds is on the way. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live – the company's next AirPods-rivaling true wireless earbuds – are apparently launching in July according to a report by SamMobile.

Recently leaked images of the rumored Samsung Galaxy Buds Live show off a pretty bold design, with a bean-like shape and built-in microphones that hint at noise-cancelling tech within.

Rumors of the new Samsung Galaxy Buds have been ramping up in the lead up to the brand’s next Unpacked event, which is expected to take place in August. According to SamMobile, this is when the new Galaxy Buds Live will go on sale, alongside the Galaxy Watch 3 and the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Fold 2.

That means you may be able to find a good discount on the original Samsung Galaxy Buds, as the company gears up to release a new model – read on for our thoughts on whether you should buy the wireless earbuds.

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Buds were released on March 8, 2019 for $149 / £139 / AU$249, making them slightly cheaper than Apple’s AirPods. 

If you had pre-ordered a Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, or Galaxy S10e, you might have also gotten a free pair of Galaxy Buds thrown in, but unfortunately this offer ended at launch.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

Image Credit: TechRadar

Design

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Buds look very attractive, with a slick all-white design comprising two earbuds and a charging case.  

The earbuds themselves look sleek and compact, with subtle rubber wingtips for a secure fit. You get small, medium, and large wingtips and eartips in the box, so you should be able to find a combination that fits your ear snugly.

While the buds feel rather dainty when you first put them in, and at risk of falling out, they're surprisingly stable and comfortable to use.

The lack of wires pulling them down means they stay in the ear through a surprising amount of head turning or bobbing, and we found they survived gym sessions and runs as well as a healthy amount of rocking out.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

One cool design feature is the use of a pearlescent material on the outer housing of the buds, which reflects the light beautifully and has an almost holographic effect. 

Aside from looking good, the housings act as touch controls, which can be used to play/pause your music, skip tracks, answer and end calls, and launch Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby on compatible devices. 

You can customize the long-press action for the Galaxy Buds via the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app (Android only), choose from volume (up on the right, down on the left) or launching Bixby (long press on either bud).

Since our initial review, a Samsung Galaxy Buds update includes hands-free Bixby voice control, plus improved touch controls, and the ability to keep the ambient sound feature on at all times. 

The touch controls are convenient, but you have to be supremely precise with your taps, applying enough pressure on the flat part of the buds for them to register your action. On multiple occasions we missed the mark, or didn’t apply enough pressure, which lead us to having to try again (sometimes multiple times).

While this is a mere inconvenience when you're sitting at a desk it becomes more of an issue when you’re on the move and your hand is less steady - like, say, when you're at the gym or out on a run. The good news is that you'll become better attuned to the system over time through use and will eventually get better – although we still don’t have a 100% success rate.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

Samsung Galaxy Buds charging case

Now onto the charging case; it’s extremely compact, and can easily slide into your pocket when you’re listening on the go. 

If you’ve used the Samsung Gear IconX, you’ll notice that the whole package here is much smaller than the last-gen earphones. In fact, it’s 30% smaller and that’s sure to make a difference when you’re keeping these in your pocket.

The case generally feels quite sturdy, with a snap shut lid, and magnets that hold the earbuds in place when they’re not in use. 

On the outside of the case you’ll find a small LED that indicates how much battery the case has, whereas an LED inside the case tells you how much charge your earbuds have left.

On the back of the case, there’s a USB-C charger port – the Galaxy Buds come with a USB cable so you can charge the case. The buds themselves have six hours battery life, while the charging case provides an additional seven – pretty good for true wireless buds. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds case

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

The Samsung Galaxy Wearable app tells you how much battery the buds have left when you pull them out of the case, but it doesn’t tell you how much charge the case has, unlike the Apple AirPods – instead you have  to rely on the LED on the outside of the case to tell you how much battery you have left.

One of the most interesting features here is the fact that you can wirelessly charge these headphones in their case. That means if you have a Qi compatible wireless charging pad – if you’ve got one for your phone, it’s probably exactly that – you can just place these on and they’ll charge up.

It’s especially useful considering the new Galaxy S10 range comes with two-way wireless charging.

That means you can set up the feature on your Galaxy S10 phone and place your headphones on the rear of the device to get them charged up as well. It’s smart, and we found it to work seamlessly in our brief testing time.

Features and performance

If you have a Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus or Galaxy S10e, pairing the buds is a seamless experience, similar to how the Apple AirPods connect instantly to iPhones. 

Connectivity seems to vary between different users; multiple writers on the TechRadar team tested the buds, and while some experienced no connection dropouts, others experienced them regularly. 

Most of the issues with connectivity seems to have been addressed by software updates sent out by Samsung, but as with most true wireless buds, you may experience connection dropouts if you are using them nearby other Bluetooth devices. 

Since the most recent update, we haven't experienced any significant Bluetooth dropouts.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

Where Samsung’s previous true wireless buds, the Gear IconX, underwhelmed, the Galaxy Buds seem to shine; with warm, deep bass, and good separation, music sounds great when played through these little buds. 

That doesn’t come as a surprise, considering they have been tuned by audio experts AKG.

We started off by listening to Radiohead’s ‘Daydreaming’ and we were impressed by the detail and clarity of the vocal parts, which were complemented by soft cascading piano arpeggios and smooth detuned synths.

Grainy chopped and screwed vocals layered with digital interference pan from left to right coherently, while violin and cellos sweep above and below the mix.

However, the Galaxy Buds really shine when it comes to bass frequencies, which becomes even more apparent when you listen to bassy tracks like Billie Eilish’s ‘Bury A Friend’. On tracks like this, the use of air-displacing dynamic drivers means that you can almost feel the sub bass thumping in your chest – unusual for true wireless earbuds.

Samsung Galaxy Buds review

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

We also tested the true wireless buds on the soundtrack of indie puzzle-platformer game Fez, by composer Disasterpeace. When listening to ‘Puzzle’, we were impressed by the Galaxy Buds’ lively treatment of the sound, with distorted sine waves ebbing and flowing while shrieking synths pierced through the mix with clarity. Decaying organ-like arpeggios and bubbling chimes also felt vibrant within the generally warm soundstage. 

As a result of that warm and bassy soundstage, mid frequencies can sound slightly recessed; it’s not the most natural sound treatment, so if you’re an audiophile, you may find yourself craving a little more attack in the treble frequencies for a more accurate replication of your music. 

Saying that, if you like your music bassy you will probably like the way the Galaxy Buds sound. Of course, they won’t offer the same power or noise isolation as a pair of decent over-ear headphones, but for true wireless buds, the sound quality is very impressive.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

Image Credit: TechRadar

Samsung Galaxy Buds app

A few extra features can be found within the Galaxy Wearable app, including an equalizer, which allows you to switch between different presets, including ‘Bass Boost; we didn’t feel the different presets had a huge effect on the soundstage of these buds, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless. 

Through the app you can also turn on 'ambient sound' feature, which mixes in background noise to the music using built-in microphones on the buds – a handy feature if you use want to the use the Galaxy Buds when running and need to hear some external noise for safety reasons. 

It can also balance out noises like rumbling traffic, while boosting nearby voices, which allows you to stay alert to environmental noises without compromising the quality of your music.

While this is a useful feature, we did encounter problems with ambient sound in windy weather. In these weather conditions, the sound of the wind was amplified, creating an uncomfortably shrill whistling sound.

If you misplace your Galaxy Buds, you can also use the ‘Find My Earbuds’ feature to track them down. When you enable this feature, the Galaxy Buds play a constant tweeting noise so you can find them quickly. 

Final verdict

It feels as though Samsung has finally got it right with the Galaxy Buds, and they represent serious competition for the Apple AirPods in terms of design, sound, and ease of use. We loved the pearlescent effect on the buds outer housing and the sleek design of the case, and we found they felt comfortable and secure. 

The sound quality offered by these true wireless buds is also very good indeed, with deep bass, and a wide open soundstage; although, audiophiles may want to look elsewhere for a more natural sound treatment, as the Galaxy Buds do sound very warm.

The stated battery life of six hours for the buds and seven hours for the case seemed about right to us, and while there were connectivity issues before Samsung’s latest software update, these issues seem to have been largely rectified.

The downside here is that other features that are available on the app like ambient noise and the equalizer presets are useful to have, but didn’t always work as effectively as we hoped. These features are also pretty much out of bounds for iOS users, as you can only download the app on devices running Android 5.0 or later. 

That said, if you have a Samsung phone, the Galaxy Buds are a fantastic pair of true wireless earbuds, with a few quality-of-life features that make them stand up confidently the competition. If not, you may miss out on these additional features but the high sound quality, comfortable fit, and attractive design means that these buds could be a smart purchase, even for the iOS crowd. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are the update the company's true wireless earbuds (the original Samsung Galaxy Buds) desperately needed: they offer better battery life, improved call audio thanks to a third internal microphone, and a new dual-driver design that uses two powerful drivers for better, clearer sound. On top of that, there's finally support for iOS through the new Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus app. 

The downside? The new Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus lack high-end audio codecs and higher IPX4 rating that the Apple AirPods Pro have. That's not even mentioning the fact that they don't offer any form of noise reduction / noise cancellation, nor have a built-in voice assistant like other true wireless earbuds out there.

Not long after the Galaxy Buds Plus' launch, Samsung released its first update, after some users reported hearing the strange sound of white noise while using the true wireless earbuds. According to TizenHelp, the firmware version R175XXUOATB5 is designed to fix this issue, as well as other problems including a "delay in pairing" and Bluetooth dropouts.

In spite of initial teething problems, Samsung should be commended for creating a decent pair of true wireless earbuds in an increasingly competitive landscape. They hold up against rival buds in their own price range and while they don't achieve the same heights as, say, the Sony WF-1000XM3 or AirPods Pro, they're significantly cheaper and offer some nice features for Samsung smartphone owners.

[Update: Recently leaked images of the rumored Samsung Galaxy Buds Live show off a pretty bold design, with a bean-like shape and built-in microphones that hint at noise-cancelling tech within.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live – the company's next AirPods-rivaling true wireless earbuds – are apparently launching in July according to a report by SamMobile.

Rumors of the new Samsung Galaxy Buds have been ramping up in the lead up to the brand’s next Unpacked event, which is expected to take place in August. According to SamMobile, this is when the new Galaxy Buds Live will go on sale, alongside the Galaxy Watch 3 and the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Fold 2.]

Price and availability 

Samsung has launched its latest true wireless earbuds, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, at its Unpacked 2020 event in San Francisco, where it announced that they'll be available to buy online from February 14, and in stores from March 6.

At $149.99 / £159 / AU$299, they're about the same price as last year's Samsung Galaxy Buds (depending on your region) and a little cheaper than their biggest competitors, the Apple AirPods. They're also significantly cheaper than the best true wireless earbuds of 2020, the Sony WF-1000XM3, though these buds come with premium features like active noise cancellation. 

You can find cheaper true wireless headphones out there – like the JLab Go Air that are just $29 / £29 (about AU$40), for example – but there are also much more expensive earbuds out there like the yet-to-be-released Klipsch T10 that are slated to cost $649 (about £490 / AU$930).

In comparison to the competition and in their value for the money, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are smack-dab in the middle. 

(Image credit: Future)

Design

The new Galaxy Buds Plus sport a very similar design to their predecessors, with slick pearlescent housings and adjustable silicone eartips. They come in red, white, blue, and black, and you should be able to find a color that suits your sense of style – something that can’t be said for the strictly-white AirPods.

As of March 10, the Galaxy Buds Plus also come in pink – however, that option is only available in South Korea at the time of writing.

Eschewing the long ear stems of the AirPods and the AirPods Pro, these sleek little buds pop neatly into their charging case and into your ear, being held in place by a small nub that catches a fold in your outer ear.

At 17.5 x 22.5 x 19.2mm, they fill up most of the ear canal (which helps them stay in while working out) and protrude slightly out of the ears. Because of that design choice we had issues wearing these earbuds while laying in bed as the constant pressure on the buds from the pillow made them uncomfortable in the ear.

In terms of customization, inside the box you'll find additional eartips in three different sizes, a larger nub to hold the earbuds in place if they're falling out and a rubber ring if you don't want any nub on the outer edges of the buds.

(Image credit: Future)

On the outside you'll find the touch capacitive button that understands single, double, triple and long presses. Single, double and triple do what you'd expect them to do and the long press can either activate your virtual assistant, lower the volume or turn on ambient sound amplification.

Using the touch capacitive button as the means to control the earbuds can be slightly uncomfortable at first, as pushing the button pushes the earbuds further into the ear canal, but you'll soon learn to exert less pressure when using it. It would've been nice if Samsung decided to implement an always-listening virtual assistant here, but unfortunately decided not to.

The only other glaring issue we've found so far with the Buds Plus is that they're only IPX2 splash-resistant. That means they're mostly fine for workouts, but won't be the kind of thing you'd want to take with you to the pool or beach, where they could easily get damaged. For comparison the Apple AirPods Pro are IPX4 water-resistant, and while that's not as good as being fully waterproof, it should assuage any fear you have of damaging them at the gym or outside in the rain.

As for the case itself, it's fairly light and smooth with rounded edges. It should fit fairly easily in your pocket and provides an additional charge for the earbuds in between uses. As you'd expect, the charging case uses USB-C, like Samsung's flagship phones, which means you don't need to carry a separate cable.

(Image credit: Future)

Battery life and connectivity

The Galaxy Buds Plus boast a far longer battery life than the original Galaxy Buds. The earbuds themselves contain 11 hours of charge, while the charging case provides an additional 11 hours, bringing the total battery life to 22 hours. 

That 11-hour battery life is pretty long for earbuds – but for the charging case, it’s not a huge amount of battery. For comparison, the Apple AirPods contain 5 hours in the buds themselves, with an additional 20 provided by the charging case, for 25 hours in total. It's nice to see the Buds Plus with a larger internal battery, but a shame the charging case didn't get something more substantial.

Throughout our week of testing we've only had to charge the earbuds and their case once, and that's with pretty heavy listening (four-plus hours each day) at medium volume. If you need to listen to your music at a higher volume to drown out outside noise, then expect to charge these every few nights.

In terms of wireless connectivity, Bluetooth 5.0 provides a stable wireless connection that never once dropped on us, even in a crowded area. For comparison, the AirPods still only support 4.2, which is pretty old now, but do have the benefit of the H1 Chip that optimizes battery life and sound quality on the earbuds.  

Unfortunately, however, neither the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus nor Apple AirPods Pro support higher-end audio codecs like aptX, aptX Low Latency or, even better, LDAC. For now your only options are SBC and AAC... unless you also use a Samsung smartphone that runs Android 7.0 or later, then you'll also have the option of Samsung's proprietary Scalable Audio codec which offers higher bitrate support and better stability, a handy perk if you've had earbuds drop out on you in the past.

Setting up the earbuds can either be done by pairing via Bluetooth for basic playback or by downloading the Galaxy Wearable or Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus app from the Google Play and Apple App Store. With those you'll be able to customize the headphones and set up ambient noise reduction so it's well worth downloading. We found both of the apps to be fairly intuitive to use, and they offer a few sound tweaking options and ambient noise amplification that we'll get into in a minute.

Finally, the last feature worth pointing out is that if you have multiple devices, the Galaxy Buds Plus support multi-pairing, allowing them to connect to several devices without needing to re-pair them every time you go to use them.

samsung galaxy buds plus

(Image credit: Samsung / @evleaks)

Sound quality

The headline news in the audio department is the new dual-driver system that the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus use. There's now a woofer and a tweeter to expand the range of the earbuds and lead to an increase in overall clarity.

After spending a lot of time with them we feel like that's definitely the case, and can appreciate the sound Samsung has crafted here that's rich, warm and easy to listen to for an extended period of time. 

To achieve that, Samsung's DSP definitely dials back bass and ups the mids and highs - making these great headphones to use when watching YouTube or Netflix around the house and even makes some genres of music sound pretty good. Listening to Green Day's atrocious new album Father of All... was slightly more bearable thanks to the Bud Plus' mid-range musicality, and a tour through Red Hot Chili Peppers' old catalog with these earbuds allowed us to appreciate the interplay between Flea's bass and Frusciante's guitar like never before.

That said, songs that should have phenomenal bass response, like Brass Monkey by Beastie Boys, sound a bit subdued to other earbuds, especially a pair like the Powerbeats Pro that emphasize the low-end.

Using the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and/or Samsung Wear app you can customize the sound of the earbuds (there's options for Soft, Dynamic, Clear, Treble and Bass Boost) but there's not a significant difference between them.

(Pictured: The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus app on iOS.) 

(Pictured: The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus app on iOS.)  (Image credit: Apple)

While the increased clarity is the highlight of the new design, Samsung says it's also increased the amount of internal microphones by one and that lead to better call quality. That claim held true in our testing as anyone we called with the earbuds reported that they sounded as good as talking directly into the phone's mic. 

Having the extra mic also means that ambient noise amplification is better this time around, too. Obviously ambient noise amplification – which pipes in outside noise rather than cancel it out isn't as good as noise reduction or noise cancellation, but it can be helpful at airplane terminals or bus stations when you're waiting for a crucial piece of information over the loud speaker or while riding a bike. 

The biggest criticism that we can levy against the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus is that they don't offer active noise cancellation nor do they provide much in the way of passive noise reduction. That means, if you plan on wearing these out and about, expect to hear a lot of the outside world while listening to your music. That's fine if you're at the gym and don't mind hearing a bit of the background noise or if you're at the office and still want to be able to hear what coworkers are saying nearby, but those looking for total aural isolation will have to look elsewhere.

The good news? If you lose them, you can find them again pretty easily by going into the app and selecting 'Find My Earbuds'. As long as they're still charged, this will get the earbuds to play a chirping sound at increasing volume - which is pretty handy if you're the kind of person who takes out your earbuds and leaves them laying around the house.

Final verdict

So where do the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus stand in the wide and deep echelon of true wireless earbuds? Well, somewhere in the middle. Thanks to its better battery life of around 11 hours (give or take) per charge, it's a decent pick for people who hate charging their headphones at night. That said, it doesn't feature a built-in virtual assistant nor does it have real water-resistance, it's just IPX2. 

Most egregious, however, is its lack of noise cancellation or even noise reduction, a feature that's available on the similarly priced Amazon Echo Buds. Now sure, those may not sound as good as the Galaxy Buds Plus nor do they last as long, but both those features lose their luster when you're struggling to hear your music on a crowded subway train. 

At the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus present a good value for folks who just want true wireless earbuds they don't need to charge everyday. They aren't the best-sounding, but the dual-driver design is a big step up for Samsung, and is good enough for watching videos and listening to bass-lite music. 

Ultimately, you'd be better served by saving up for a pair of Apple AirPods Pro if you're an iOS user or a pair of Sony  WF-1000XM3 if you use Android, both of which sound better and offer noise cancellation. They don't last as long as the Galaxy Buds Plus do and cost twice as much, but they're a better all-around pick in our opinion.

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